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emeline

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#61 [url]

Feb 1 10 5:53 PM

Police warn of social media hoaxes in US shooting


NEWTOWN, Connecticut (AFP) - Authorities investigating the deadly US school shooting warned Sunday of misinformation circulating on social media about the massacre.

Those spreading such fake details could be subject to arrest, Lieutenant Paul Vance of Connecticut State Police told reporters in the wake of Friday's attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 people -- including 20 children between the ages of six and seven.

The rampage in the peaceful rural community northeast of New York City rattled the country and sparked a frantic search for answers.

"All information relative to this case is coming from these microphones and any information coming from other sources cannot be confirmed and, in many cases, it has been found as inaccurate," Vance said.

"There have been indications that there have been quotes by people who are posing as the shooter," he added. "Anyone perpetrating that information, could, in fact, be subject to arrest and be prosecuted federally."

Asked if anyone has been identified or questioned, Vance said: "They're working on that right now."

More:
http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/technology/15655882/police-warn-of-social-media-hoaxes-in-us-shooting/

Smile, breathe and go slowly.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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emeline

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#62 [url]

Feb 1 10 6:54 PM

Is your TV watching you? Security alert over Samsung's Smart TV as hackers claim they can access its hard drive and seize control of built-in cameras

  • Security experts reveal they have been able to gain access to the device and scour its hard drives and connected drives for information
  • They claim to have 'complete root access' allowing them to install malicious software that could monitor its cameras and microphones
  • More and more devices that connect to the Internet are leaving unwitting consumers vulnerable to such hacking attacks

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2249303/Hackers-penetrate-home-Crack-Samsungs-Smart-TV-allows-attacker-seize-control-microphone-cameras.html#ixzz2FKwqKWuw

Smile, breathe and go slowly.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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emeline

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#65 [url]

Apr 18 10 2:02 AM

Is your smartphone emasculating you?

Google co-founder Sergey Brin had harsh words for smartphones during a TED talk in Long Beach, Calif., this week.
The slender technological helpmates — which, as CNET observed, generate the fastest-growing segment of Google's revenue — are "emasculating," he said. "You're standing around and just rubbing this featureless piece of glass."



Our first thought was that Brin had misconstrued "emasculating" to mean something like "impersonal" or "depressing." We also wondered whether it wasn't a bit unmanly to worry so much about one's manhood and all the 4-inch apparati arrayed against it. But then we considered: Maybe the experience of using a smartphone does sap a guy's mojo. After all, the intense feelings of dependence our devices can inspire seem incongruous with the strength and autonomy we expect from "real men."



But Brin's solution to the masculinity-dampening powers of the smartphone — Google Glass — doesn't do much to solve the problem. Slated for wide release later in 2013, the technology not only requires its share of rubbing, but promises to make us even more device-reliant. How? Brin says he hopes Glass will eventually feature a search tool that knows what we want before we ask for it. "[Glass] is the first form factor that can deliver that vision," the Google guru told his TED-talk audience.



Glass, a headset that comes with the ability to snap photos and shoot video at any time, has already raised privacy red flags around the Web. But hey, it probably is empowering to document your life using a fancy, voice-activated piece of eyewear. Unless you see it as just another chic accessory, in which case a six-pack of Guinness and some fishing tackle will probably get your man-juices flowing again.





http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/technology/8373772/Is-your-smartphone-emasculating-you

Smile, breathe and go slowly.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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periol

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#67 [url]

Apr 19 10 12:54 PM


Darpa Wants You to Transcribe, and Instantly Recall, All of Your Conversations


http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/darpa-speech/

The Pentagon’s blue-sky researchers are funding a project that uses crowdsourcing to improve how machines analyze our speech. Even more radical: Darpa wants to make systems so accurate, you’ll be able to easily record, transcribe and recall all the conversations you ever have.

Analyzing speech and improving speech-to-text machines has been a hobby horse for Darpa in recent years. But this takes it a step further, in exploring the ways crowdsourcing can make it possible for our speech to be recorded and stored forever. But it’s not just about better recordings of what you say. It’ll lead to more recorded conversations, quickly transcribed and then stored in perpetuity — like a Twitter feed or e-mail archive for everyday speech. Imagine living in a world where every errant utterance you make is preserved forever.

University of Texas computer scientist Matt Lease has studied crowdsourcing for years, including for an earlier Darpa project called Effective Affordable Reusable Speech-to-text, or EARS, which sought to boost the accuracy of automated transcription machines. His work has also attracted enough attention for Darpa to award him a $300,000 award over two years to study the new project, called “Blending Crowdsourcing with Automation for Fast, Cheap, and Accurate Analysis of Spontaneous Speech.” The project envisions a world that is both radically transparent and a little freaky.

The idea is that business meetings or even conversations with your friends and family could be stored in archives and easily searched. The stored recordings could be held in servers, owned either by individuals or their employers. Lease is still playing with the idea — one with huge implications for how we interact.

“In their call, what [Darpa] really talked about were different areas of science where they would like to see advancements in certain problems that they see,” Lease told Danger Room at his Austin office. “So I responded talking about what I saw as this very big both need and opportunity to really make conversational speech more accessible, more part of our permanent record instead of being so ephemeral, and really trying to imagine what this world would look like if we really could capture all these conversations and make use of them effectively going forward.”

How? The answer, Lease says, is in widespread use of recording technologies like smartphones, cameras and audio recorders — a kind of “democratizing force of everyday people recording and sharing their daily lives and experiences through their conversations.” But the trick to making the concept functional and searchable, says Lease, is blending automated voice analysis machines with large numbers of human analysts through crowdsourcing. That could be through involving people “strategically,” to clean up transcripts where machines made a mistake. Darpa’s older EARS project relied entirely on automation, which has its drawbacks.

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periol

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#68 [url]

Apr 19 10 11:25 PM


The First Wireless, Implantable Brain-Computer Interface Will Help Us Move Things With Our Minds On the Go


http://gizmodo.com/5988342/the-first-wireless-implantable-brain+computer-interface-will-help-us-move-things-with-our-minds-on-the-go

Researchers at Brown University have made the first wireless, implantable, rechargeable brain-computer interface. Humans might be next in line for testing of the device, after 13 months of successful trials in monkeys and pigs.

Made out of hermetically sealed titanium, the new BCI doesn't have to be attached to a computer, so the wearer doesn't have to be strapped into a seat and can move about freely. BCIs are often used to aid people who are paralyzed or have diminished motor functions by connecting them control of a robotic arm, for example, so it's important that they don't have to be strapped into a chair to use this new BCI. Plus, it allows scientists to monitor the brain during more complex tasks. In the case of a monkey, this has come down to things like social activities or foraging.

The device looks a lot like a pacemaker, with a li-lion battery, an inductive charging loop, a chip that digitizes brain information, and an antenna to transmit that info to a computer.ExtremeTech explains what's inside:

The BCI is connected to a small chip with 100 electrodes protruding from it, which, in this study, was embedded in the somatosensory cortex or motor cortex. These 100 electrodes produce a lot of data, which the BCI transmits at 24Mbps over the 3.2 and 3.8GHz bands to a receiver that is one meter away.

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periol

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#69 [url]

Apr 30 10 6:31 PM


Brain Scans Can Now Reveal Who You’re Thinking About


For the first time, scientists have been able to use data from brain scans to identify who patients are thinking about.

Researchers from Cornell University have been analyzing data from functional MRI scans in an attempt to reconstruct what memories people are recalling. But now they've gone a step further, by trying to deduce the mental picture of an individual in a person's head from just their brain activity, reports Scientific American. Nathan Spreng, the researcher behind the project, explains:

"We are trying to understand the physical mechanisms that allow us to have an inner world, and a part of that is how we represent other people in our mind."

So he and his team gave 19 volunteers descriptions of four imaginary people, each with different personalities and traits. Then their brains were scanned using fMRI, while they were asked how these individuals might behave in social situations.

Turned out that each of the four individuals triggered unique patterns of brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex—effectively demonstrating for the frist time that it's possible to decode from brain activity who people are thinking about. Speng explains again:

"The scope of this is incredible when you think of all the people you meet over the course of your life and are able to remember. Each one probably has its own unique representation in the brain This representation can be modified as we share experiences and learn more about each other, and plays into how we imagine future events with others unfolding."

It really is an amazing finding. Just be careful who you think about next time you're in a hospital.

http://gizmodo.com/5990718/brain-scans-can-now-reveal-who-youre-thinking-about

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periol

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#70 [url]

May 2 10 1:56 AM


this guy spells out the full extent of our surveillance state vis-a-vis the internet.  i think he is right on point.  

The Internet is a surveillance state

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/16/opinion/schneier-internet-surveillance/index.html


I'm going to start with three data points.

One: Some of the Chinese military hackers who were implicated in a broad set of attacks against the U.S. government and corporations were identified because they accessed Facebook from the same network infrastructure they used to carry out their attacks.

Two: Hector Monsegur, one of the leaders of the LulzSac hacker movement, was identified and arrested last year by the FBI. Although he practiced good computer security and used an anonymous relay service to protect his identity, he slipped up.

And three: Paula Broadwell,who had an affair with CIA director David Petraeus, similarly took extensive precautions to hide her identity. She never logged in to her anonymous e-mail service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him. 
The FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels -- and hers was the common name.

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we're being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him;105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.

Increasingly, what we do on the Internet is being combined with other data about us. Unmasking Broadwell's identity involved correlating her Internet activity with her hotel stays. Everything we do now involves computers, and computers produce data as a natural by-product. Everything is now being saved and correlated, and many big-data companies make money by building up intimate profiles of our lives from a variety of sources.

Facebook, for example, correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline. And there's more. There's location data from your cell phone, there's a record of your movements from closed-circuit TVs.

This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it's efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.

Sure, we can take measures to prevent this. We can limit what we search on Google from our iPhones, and instead use computer web browsers that allow us to delete cookies. We can use an alias on Facebook. We can turn our cell phones off and spend cash. But increasingly, none of it matters.

There are simply too many ways to be tracked. The Internet, e-mail,cell phones, web browsers, social networking sites, search engines: these have become necessities, and it's fanciful to expect people to simply refuse to use them just because they don't like the spying, especially since the full extent of such spying is deliberately hidden from us and there are few alternatives being marketed by companies that don't spy.

This isn't something the free market can fix. We consumers have no choice in the matter. All the major companies that provide us with Internet services are interested in tracking us. Visit a website and it will almost certainly know who you are; there are lots of ways to betracked without cookies. Cellphone companies routinely undo the web's privacy protection. One experiment at Carnegie Mellon took real-time videos of students on campus and was able to identify one-third of them by comparing their photos with publicly available tagged Facebook photos.

Maintaining privacy on the Internet is nearly impossible. If you forget even once to enable your protections, or click on the wrong link, or type the wrong thing, and you've permanently attached your name to whatever anonymous service you're using. Monsegur slipped up once, and the FBI got him. If the director of the CIA can't maintain his privacy on the Internet, we've got no hope.

In today's world, governments and corporations are working together to keep things that way. Governments are happy to use the data corporations collect -- occasionally demanding that they collect more and save it longer -- to spy on us. And corporations are happy to buy data from governments. Together the powerful spy on the powerless, and they're not going to give up their positions of power, despite what the people want.

Fixing this requires strong government will, but they're just as punch-drunk on data as the corporations. Slap-on-the-wrist finesnotwithstanding, no one is agitating for better privacy laws.

So, we're done. Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites.

And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant.

Welcome to an Internet without privacy, and we've ended up here with hardly a fight.

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emeline

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#71 [url]

May 6 10 6:36 AM

   

CIA's Gus Hunt On Big Data: We 'Try To Collect Everything And Hang On To It Forever'

NEW YORK -- The CIA's chief technology officer outlined the agency's endless appetite for data in a far-ranging speech on Wednesday.
Speaking before a crowd of tech geeks at GigaOM's Structure:Data conference in New York City, CTO Ira "Gus" Hunt said that the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos -- and that the agency wants all of it.


"The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever."


Hunt's comments come two days after Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA has committed to a massive, $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon for cloud computing services. The agency has not commented on that report, but Hunt's speech, which included multiple references to cloud computing, indicates that it does indeed have interest in storage and analysis capabilities on a massive scale.
The CIA is keenly interested in capabilities for so-called "big data" -- the increasingly massive data sets created by digital technology. The agency even has a page on its website pitching big data jobs to prospective employees.


Hunt acknowleded that at some scale, data storage becomes impractical, adding that he meant "forever being in quotes" when he said the agency wants to keep data "forever." But he also indicated that he was interested in computing capabilities like 1 petabyte of RAM, a massive capacity for on-the-fly calculations that has heretofore been seen only in computers that simulate nuclear explosions.
He referenced the failure to "connect the dots" in the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber" who was able to board a plan with an explosive device despite repeated warnings of his intentions. In that case, a White House review found that the CIA had all of the data it needed to identify the would-be bomber, but still failed to stop him. Nevertheless, the agency does not seem to have curbed its ambitions for an endless amount of data.

A slide from Hunt's presentation.
"It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information," Hunt said. After that mark is reached, Hunt said, the agency would also like to be able to save and analyze all of the digital breadcrumbs people don't even know they are creating.
"You're already a walking sensor platform," he said, nothing that mobiles, smartphones and iPads come with cameras, accelerometers, light detectors and geolocation capabilities.
"You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off," he said. "You know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should."






More:


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/cia-gus-hunt-big-data_n_2917842.html



Smile, breathe and go slowly.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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tlr1138

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#72 [url]

May 25 10 1:43 AM

"...a White House review found that the CIA had all of the data it needed to identify the would-be bomber, but still failed to stop him."

You'd think that eventually the "incompetence" excuse would wear thin and people would start to figure out that the National Security State is running these patsies.

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periol

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#74 [url]

Jun 11 10 7:36 PM

The Future Is Now With AT&T's New Home Automation Tech

http://www.technewsworld.com/story/77900.html

No more worrying over whether you locked the front door as you're tooling down the highway 200 miles from home. With AT&T's Digital Life security and home automation systems, you can monitor and control everything from door locks to coffee makers wherever you happen to be, as long as you have a connected mobile device. You don't have to be an existing AT&T customer to subscribe to the services, either.

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concernedmomma

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#75 [url]

Jun 12 10 1:38 PM

Funny, when I was reading that I thought, "great how easy it will be for the domineering husband, the psycho who has a "slave" girlfriend, or just plan  that controlling partner to have even more control over what another human being can or cannot do. You know what I mean?

They don't even have to be home now to torture.
You cant have your morning coffee until 9am.
You cant use the toilet until I unlock the door at 8am,
You cant leave the house till 10 and you had best be back in by 11 because that's when I lock the doors and if your locked out I will beat you.... and on and on. Guess I am twisted.

Well aren't you just a fun little lollipop triple dipped in psycho......

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emeline

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#76 [url]

Jun 13 10 3:24 AM

Big brother to switch off your fridge: Power giants to make millions - but you must pay for 'sinister' technology

  • Computer chips will take control of home appliances when energy is low
  • Sensors will detect spikes in demand for power and when grid struggles to meet it, will temporarily shut off appliances
  • Can shut down supply without warning - or your consent
Fridges and freezers in millions of British homes will automatically be switched off without the owner’s consent under a ‘Big Brother’ regime to reduce the strain on power stations.
The National Grid is demanding that all new appliances be fitted with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for electricity.
Electric ovens, air-conditioning units and washing machines will also be affected  by the proposals, which are already backed by one of the European Union’s most influential energy bodies. They are pushing for the move as green energy sources such as wind farms are less predictable than traditional power stations, increasing the risk  of blackouts.

Smile, breathe and go slowly.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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emeline

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#77 [url]

Jun 15 10 10:22 AM

London, England –  It will be possible to download your brain to a supercomputer, according to a leading thinker on the future.

Brain downloads ‘possible by 2050′

an Pearson, head of British Telecom’s futurology unit, told the UK’s Observer newspaper that the rapid advances in computing power would make cyber-immortality a reality within 40 years.

Pearson said the launch last week of Sony’s PlayStation 3, a machine 35 times more powerful than the model it replaced, was a sign of things to come.

“The new PlayStation is one percent as powerful as the human brain,” Pearson told the Observer. “It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain.”

Pearson said that brain-downloading technology would initially be the preserve of the rich, but would become more available over subsequent decades.

“If you’re rich enough then by 2050 it’s feasible. If you’re poor you’ll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it’s routine,” he said.

“We are very serious about it. That’s how fast this technology is moving: 45 years is a hell of a long time in IT.”

http://nanobrainimplant.com/it-will-be-possible-to-download-your-brain-to-a-supercomputer/

Smile, breathe and go slowly.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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periol

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#78 [url]

Jul 9 10 10:59 PM


I'm going to censor myself because I'm so tired of this stuff that the only words I have are swear words.

Corporations need to die.  All of them.  I hatehatehatehatehate them.

Phone Firms Sell Data on Customers


http://finance.yahoo.com/news/phone-firms-sell-data-customers-231300766.html


Big phone companies have begun to sell the vast troves of data they gather about their subscribers' locations, travels and Web-browsing habits.

The information provides a powerful tool for marketers but raises new privacy concerns. Even as Americans browsing the Internet grow more accustomed to having every move tracked, combining that information with a detailed accounting of their movements in the real world has long been considered particularly sensitive.

The new offerings are also evidence of a shift in the relationship between carriers and their subscribers. Instead of merely offering customers a trusted conduit for communication, carriers are coming to see subscribers as sources of data that can be mined for profit, a practice more common among providers of free online services like Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

When a Verizon Wireless customer navigates to a website on her smartphone today, information about that website, her location and her demographic background may end up as a data point in a product called Precision Market Insights. The product, which Verizon launched in October 2012 after trial runs, offers businesses like malls, stadiums and billboard owners statistics about the activities and backgrounds of cellphone users in particular locations.

Several European mobile-network operators have launched similar efforts. This week, German software giant SAP AG is introducing a service that will gather smartphone-use and location data from wireless carriers and offer it to marketing firms.

Carriers acknowledge the sensitivity of the data. But as advertisers and marketers seek more detailed information about potential customers and the telecom industry seeks new streams of revenue amid a maturing cellphone market, big phone companies have started to tiptoe in.

The companies say they don't sell data about individuals but rather about groups of people. Privacy advocates say the law permits them to do so. In 2011, Verizon sent notice to customers saying they may use their data in this way.

Chris Soghoian, a privacy specialist at the American Civil Liberties Union, says the ability to profit from customer data could give wireless carriers an incentive to track customers more precisely than connecting calls requires and to store even more of their Web browsing history. That could broaden the range of data about individuals' habits and movements that law enforcement could subpoena, Mr. Soghoian says. "It's the collection that's the scary part, not the business use."

Verizon responds that the data it analyzes for Precision Market Insights is information it already collects and that it complies with legal processes when it gets requests for information from law enforcement.
The carrier also says that it will sell only broad information about groups of customers, and that the program won't include information from Verizon's government or corporate clients. Most other individuals' data will be used by default, but people can opt out on Verizon's website.

Jeff Weber, AT&T Inc.'s president of content and advertising sales, says his company is studying ways to sell and analyze customer data for advertisers while letting customers opt out, but so far the company doesn't have a product akin to Verizon's.

It's tricky territory. Last year, Spanish carrier Telefonica SA provoked a political outcry in Germany over its plans to sell aggregated location data and eventually said it didn't plan to launch the program there.
Verizon's data service is being used by the Phoenix Suns. The basketball team has used it to map where people attending its games live in order increase advertising in areas that haven't met expectations, says Scott Horowitz, a team vice president.

The carrier, a Verizon Communications Inc.-Vodafone Group PLC joint venture, has used its data to tailor its own marketing message, according to Colson Hillier, who oversees the data-mining program.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., one of the world's biggest billboard companies, has agreed to conduct a trial of the Precision service, according to Suzanne Grimes, Clear Channel's North America president. She says the service could allow billboard owners to measure how likely someone driving by is to go to the store being advertised. "You've got an industry that was historically about eyeballs," she says. "Now you know more about who those people are and what their behavior looks like."

SAP's offering will take an even broader approach. SAP Mobile Services President John Sims says the service will sift through huge volumes of data about how and where people use their mobile devices and then share the revenue from selling the information with the wireless carriers providing the data.

SAP hasn't said which carriers it's working with, but it described the process. When a smartphone user clicks on a Web link, the action will generate a data point, including basic information about the website the user is visiting along with the user's location as precisely as within 30 feet and demographic data.
SAP will then aggregate and analyze that individual subscriber data and provide statistics to clients about the usage habits at a particular location of groups of as few as 50 people. One possible use: Retailers worried about "showrooming," or inspecting products that the shopper will eventually buy online, can find out what websites people visit on their phones when they're in their stores.

Mat Sears, a spokesman for U.K. wireless operator EE, a joint venture of Deutsche Telekom AG and France Télécom SA, says the company is evaluating the SAP product and views the ability to sell and analyze data about how people use their smartphones as "a potentially game-changing opportunity."

Meanwhile, Americans have become more comfortable disclosing their locations via social-media services like Twitter Inc. and Foursquare. Indeed, as carriers get more involved in data mining, they could find themselves competing with those companies and Internet giants like Google and Facebook.
But the carriers say that they have more comprehensive data. "This is the information that everyone has wanted that hasn't been available until now," says the Suns' Mr. Horowitz.

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tlr1138

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#79 [url]

Jul 10 10 1:16 AM

Think of the convenience - and if you're not doing anything wrong - and we must protect the children and compete in the global economy and fight terrorism - and grow the economy - besides you can't stop progress...

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periol

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#80 [url]

Jul 23 10 10:01 AM

A secret NSA program called PRISM has backdoors in the servers of all major tech companies in America.  We all knew this was happening, and now they've admitted it.  This is all over the internet today, so many links I can only post a few...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-data-from-nine-us-internet-companies-in-broad-secret-program/2013/06/06/3a0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html?hpid=z1

http://m.guardiannews.com/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.

In a statement, Google said: "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data."

Several senior tech executives insisted that they had no knowledge of PRISM or of any similar scheme. They said they would never have been involved in such a program. "If they are doing this, they are doing it without our knowledge," one said.

An Apple spokesman said it had "never heard" of PRISM.

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.

Disclosure of the PRISM program follows a leak to the Guardian on Wednesday of a top-secret court order compelling telecoms provider Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of US customers.

The participation of the internet companies in PRISM will add to the debate, ignited by the Verizon revelation, about the scale of surveillance by the intelligence services. Unlike the collection of those call records, this surveillance can include the content of communications and not just the metadata.

Some of the world's largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007.

It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks.

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